Warren Jeffs, self-described “prophet” of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), sits behind bars in a state prison in the east Texas city of Palestine.
But even though he’s serving a 120-year sentence for sexually abusing minors, Jeffs, critics say, still manages to run an isolated community of more than 6,000 people that straddles the Utah-Arizona border.
It’s a place unlike any other in America because, dissidents charge, it operates under a veritable theocratic form of government.
Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., known collectively as the Short Creek community, are home to a radical polygamist splinter group of the Mormon church. Members of the FLDS live in what is widely considered to be their stronghold in the desert.
For years, little was known about the secretive religious group. Members shunned publicity and planned their community on a border so they could move from one state to another if trouble arose.
But now Short Creek finds itself targeted by a national spotlight - and what’s being uncovered isn’t pretty.